All too often, when police try to pull a suspected criminal over in a traffic stop, it results in a chase. And sometimes that chase can cause a lot of collateral damage.
We're hearing from a young man in Richmond Hill, who became that collateral damage, as he was making his way home from work. And why liability in these cases isn't always so black and white.
"At the moment, like the moment right before it happened, all I could think was I'm about to die. And then I blacked out, and then I woke up," said Kwame Middleton.
Around 1 a.m. on Monday, Kwame Middleton was driving home from work, passing over the viaduct on Highway 17 near White Oak Lane in Richmond Hill when the vehicle driving in front of him swerved to avoid what a split second later hit his Honda Civic head-on.
Police said it was a vehicle driven by Joshua Brandon Miller, a man wanted by investigators in North Carolina for burglary, auto theft and kidnapping. Miller was driving the wrong way, with his headlights off.
Kwame's mother, Monica Middleton, said, "Thankfully I saw my son before I saw the vehicle. Because if I saw the vehicle first, I don't ... just by seeing the vehicle you'd think that he didn't survive."
Middleton was rushed to Memorial University Medical Center, treated for a knee and neck injury. And the bills will keep coming for the 21-year-old, who lost his car and his ability to go to his brand new job.
Fortunately, there are services out there to help victims of crime like Kwame once insurance and any restitution fall through, like those provided by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
"If the victim is truly owed something then we're going to work and do everything we can to try to help them as much as we can on our end," said Steven Hatfield, the deputy director of the CJCC.
In the meantime, the Middleton's say they are still awaiting details from police about the chase that nearly took their son's life, and for the man responsible for the head-on crash to get caught.
"He needs to turn himself in and be responsible for all these different acts, that he's cause hurt and harm to other people, before he hurts someone else. He needs to turn himself in. Other than that, I'm just praying for him," said Raynard Middleton, the victim's father.
Georgia State Patrol is in charge of the crash investigation. The last word from police is the suspect, Josh Miller, is still on the run.
Police say he ran from the crash site and was last seen near the A-1 Motel on U.S. 17. They say he is likely injured.
They think he may have stolen another vehicle and left the area. He is considered to be dangerous.
If you see him, call police immediately.
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